In an article “Shape of the Future” in the January 23, 2016 edition of World magazine, essayist Andrée Seu Peterson talks about how Christ chose to lay down his life for us on the cross during the Jewish Feast of Passover. It is no coincidence then that Jesus is referred to many times in Scripture as the Lamb of God and the Passover Lamb, who was sacrificed for the sins of the people.
Interestingly enough, Peterson points out, two other Jewish feasts tie perfectly to the events that follow in the story of Christ. The Resurrection, like the Firstfruits Feast, occurs next, and then the Feast of Weeks 50 days after Passover corresponds exactly with Pentecost.
It is only natural, then, that the three other Jewish festivals give us a glimpse of the future. The Feast of the Trumpets reminds us that the trumpet will sound when Christ returns to take us to eternal glory. The ultimate Day of Atonement will come when our sins are washed forevermore in the blood of the Lamb. And the triumphant Feast of Tabernacles will take place when we will all come together to worship at the foot of the throne of the Lamb, singing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who is, who was and who is the come.”
I find it moving when we get glimpses of the divine order of God’s plan of salvation for us in Christ. And it is humbling to recognize that we are the reason for the plan.
Sometimes I wonder why we follow the seasons of the Church Year, but then a revelation like this makes it clear: We need to be reminded year after year that God has the pattern of our salvation all worked out and we just need to let the fulfillment of those sacred patterns come to pass in good time.
For the purposes of this blog, then, how do we in our parishes point parishioners to the ways in which Christ fulfills these Jewish festivals of old? And how do we in our worship and events reinforce the reasons for following the seasons and festivals of the Church Year? I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this.